Funding found for continuing PCSO presence

Funding has been found to keep PCSOs on the streets.
Funding has been found to keep PCSOs on the streets.

The number of police community support officers patrolling the area’s streets will be protected until 2016, it has been confirmed.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson, has agreed a funding package for PCSOs in Leeds, which means they are here to stay, for the time being.

Coun Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council welcomed the news in light of “budgetary” challenges the council were facing.

“I am pleased therefore that having listened closely to our case, the Police and Crime Commissioner has agreed to contribute to the part funding of our PCSOs over the next two years.

“The PCSOs play a very important role in combating anti-social behaviour, and this funding will help ensure that their visible presence remains in Leeds,” said CounWakefield.

West Yorkshire Police has already been forced to find savings of £64m after its policing grant was reduced by 20 per cent.

And this year it will have to cut its spending by a further £18m to balance the books.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “PCSOs working as part of our neighbourhood police teams with police constables provide an invaluable service in our communities and I have pledged to protect neighbourhood policing which is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan.

“I understand the pressures that councils and partners are under with severe government cuts to all our budgets and I am working closely with council leaders to secure their level of funding.

“But it is not just about protecting the numbers of frontline officers and staff but about making sure we deliver a better service in our communities by working with our partner agencies. This is important work to make sure our communities are safer and feel safer.”